Caregiver of the Month
Home Care Assistance is proud of the care professionals we employ. We only hire 1 in 25 qualified applicants, and look for employees who share our belief that the lives of our clients should be enhanced, not just maintained.
Most of our employees have worked for other companies or senior care facilities but have found a "home" here where they are treated with respect and encouraged to be an active member of the entire team that is caring for your loved one.
As a way to give back, we celebrate exceptional caregivers employees once a month at the local and company-wide level. Read on below to meet the committed, passionate caregivers that have won our company-wide “Caregiver of the Month” award.
December’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Rebecca Walter – Home Care Assistance of Cleveland West, Ohio
Rebecca Walter was the first caregiver hired when the Cleveland West office opened in November 2016 and she has shown great success ever since! Rebecca is very personable and caring towards everyone. Every client that she cares for loves having her around for her upbeat personality and contagious laugh. One of Rebecca’s many strengths is connecting with her clients in a fun-loving way.
One of Rebecca’s clients is named Carol. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and often has difficulty walking. In an effort to help her, Rebecca was able to get Carol on her exercise bike three days a week for therapy. After a few weeks of Rebecca’s encouragement, Carol decided to make a goal for herself, which was to walk again by the end of the year. Because of Rebecca’s compassion and encouragement, Carol has changed her outlook on life and is now focused on the positives.
Rebecca is currently in school and taking classes to become a physical therapist assistant. She has two children and expertly juggles her home, school and career responsibilities. On behalf of Home Care Assistance, we would like to thank Rebecca for all of her hard work, the compassionate care she provides to seniors in the community, and her dedication to bringing joy and comfort to her client’s lives!
November’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Aleksandra Marzec – Home Care Assistance of Greater Charleston, IL
This month we are excited to feature Aleksandra Marzec, recently named Caregiver of the Year, with Home Care Assistance of Greater Chicago. There are many caregivers who are reliable and go above and beyond, covering shifts at any hour. They are flexible with their schedules and provide home care services for multiple clients who adore their care. Caregivers who possess these qualities are truly wonderful, but Aleksandra Marzec (Aleks) is a different kind of wonderful, and that is why she received our Caregiver of the Year award.
Aleks has been a caregiver for Home Care Assistance of Greater Chicago for over seven years. Over the course of her employment, Aleks has provided care to the same family. Her caregiver journey began with taking care of a woman named Betty Lou. Betty’s husband, Joe, and her children needed extra help. Since Betty’s passing six years ago, Aleks, Joe and his children have counted on Aleks and she has never let them down. She now cares for Joe and provides love, care, attention, stability and so much more. She is creative, takes initiative and is truly part of the family. If she sees that something is amiss, she takes action and calls the right people so that advanced care is provided immediately.
Aleks’ bond with Joe is best summed up in his daughter’s words: “Each time I visit I am happy to see that the bond between my Dad and Aleks has grown even stronger than before. They are sometimes like an old married couple: both strong willed and not afraid to raise their voices, just a little, to get their own way. What continues to amaze me about Aleks is her ability to know when it is best to yield to my Dad, and when she must, for his own good, continue the discussion. She has an uncanny ability to read him, to respect him, to know his needs. She has become ‘his person’.”
Aleks was also the recipient of our Caregiver of the Year award for her excellent service. Watch the video of the awards ceremony to hear more about Betty, Joe and Aleks’ heartwarming and incredible story. From all of us at Home Care Assistance, thank you Aleks for the wonderful work you do and for showing us what beautiful relationships can form through the caregiving process!
October’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Nancy DeParga – Home Care Assistance of Houston, TX
Nancy DeParga has been an exceptional, compassionate caregiver for the Houston Office for over two years. Clients praise her for her organizational skills and attention to detail.
Recently, Nancy went above and beyond to protect and serve a client in a suburb of Houston during the flooding from September 25th, 2017 to October 1st, 2017. Nancy was covering a weekend 24/7 assignment shift. Prior to covering the shift, weather reports indicated that Houston would be experiencing heavy rain and possible flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Despite the weather reports, Nancy acknowledged that the safety of the client could be in danger and she proceeded to provide the client with care. On September 28th, Nancy noticed that water was beginning to rise outside of the clients condominium. To take action, Nancy grabbed an emergency kit, took her client to the second floor for safety and called 9-1-1 who told her that she and the other residents would be rescued as soon as possible. Nancy had cell service so she kept in touch with her client’s son and grandson and emergency responders as she waited. They were eventually rescued by boat and First Responders carried the client and other elderly residents to safety. They were transferred to a holding area before being sent to a school in Humble where the client’s grandson picked up the client and Nancy. They arrived at the client’s son’s house, where they both stayed until the water receded enough for Nancy to go home and for another caregiver to arrive. Nancy stayed with the client for a total of seven days, ensured the client was safe, removed her from a dangerous situation, and even lost her personal car during the flood.
Nancy is a stellar example of a caring and dependable caregiver. From the bottom of our hearts, we at Home Care Assistance would like to thank Nancy for her courageousness, ability to think quickly, and devotion to her client’s safety.
September’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Brianna Wallaert – Home Care Assistance of Lake Oswego, OR
Brianna joined our team in May and shows her dedication and compassion every day. She currently works with one of our residential community partners in Oregon to connect with residents in the community and promote our Wellness Program, which is designed to keep seniors active and engaged at home. Brianna has perfect attendance and goes out of her way to cover any shifts necessary to ensure our clients receive the specialized and high caliber care they deserve.
Brianna has shown leadership skills by helping orient oncoming caregivers at Home Care Assistance. She takes pride in her position and is a great representation of our values and mission.
On behalf of Home Care Assistance, we would like to thank Brianna for all of her hard work and dedication to taking care of our clients!
April’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Marina – Home Care Assistance of Sonoma County, CA
This months Caregiver Spotlight features Marina with Home Care Assistance Sonoma County. Marina has been with Home Care Assistance since July 2016 and has worked with a variety of clients, making excellent use of her valuable skills and experience. Marina is dependable and reliable when providing care, consistently going above and beyond expectations. She completes care tasks with a positive energy and a smile on her face. She has provided compassionate and mindful care to seniors with advanced dementia, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and other challenging diseases.
She is a warm and nurturing caregiver that makes her clients and families feel comfortable with her presence. As one client shared, “Marina understands the physical environment and is an essential part of healing.”
On behalf of Home Care Assistance, we want to thank Marina for her passion in delivering compassionate and loving care to our clients!
March’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Diana – Home Care Assistance of Prescott, Arizona
Diana joined Home Care Assistance in early 2016 and brought incredible skills, experience and an always positive attitude! Diana is always available for fill in shifts, immediate coverage and is willing to be on stand by for any case in any city, anytime! Diana has travelled across the state to provide exceptional care for our clients. When Diana walks into a client’s life, we are told after the first shift what a difference she made in their lives, and how excited they are to have her come back. Diana’s clients benefit from her diligence in providing the best care focusing on strengthening the brain, eating healthier, preparing balanced meals and completing physical activity during every shift.
Diana has taken the toughest cases at the toughest times, doesn’t call in, and answers the call to serve with aplomb. In additional to being incredibly reliable, she is always asked back even when filling in, and makes a concerted effort to communicate with management, both directly (communicating with her supervisor) and indirectly (excellent note taking during shifts).
February’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Shelly Decker – Home Care Assistance of Waterloo, Canada
This months Caregiver Spotlight is Shelly Decker. Shelly has been with Home Care Assistance since December 2015. With over 30 years in the caregiving field, Shelly has developed an amazing ability to keep her clients happy and healthy. She is very intuitive and understands her clients need even before the client does. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Shelly understands her clients overall welfare stems from having an environment that supports both mental and physical well-being.
Shellys devotion and passion for work not only comes from her professional background as a Social Worker, but also comes from who she is as a person. She truly embodies the philosophies of the Balanced Care Method when working with her clients; she creates a comfort zone where clients can flourish and have purpose in life. We are privileged to have Shelly as an employee and thank her for her continued dedication towards our goal of changing the way the world ages.
On behalf of Home Care Assistance, we want to thank Shelly for her passion in delivering the best experience and care for her clients!
January’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Qualonda Harris – Home Care Assistance of Dallas
This month’s Caregiver Spotlight is Qualonda Harris, “Q”, who works for Home Care Assistance of Dallas. Qualonda attended one of the company’s first caregiver orientations and has been working with several clients since this time. When you meet Q, you are immediately put at ease by her warm demeanor and sweet smile. She has been with the same client for ten months, but has worked with other clients when a well-seasoned, compassionate and joyful caregiver is needed.
Q is like that incredible flight attendant you always want working on your flight; she is upbeat, fun and efficient, however, if an emergency ever arose, she is calm, directive, level-headed and very knowledgeable in choosing the best course of action to ensure everyone’s safety.
Q embraces our balanced care approach and has a great sense of humor. One especially memorable day was when Q’s client had an upcoming birthday about two months after she started working with him. She was going to be working with him on his actual birthday and was pondering over what would make his day especially fun and memorable. At the time, the client was falling frequently and was very anxious about leaving the house and being with crowds of people. She thought about the conversations they had about when he was a star football player in high school, his love of loud, unique places and his passion for food (lots of it). With that in mind, she decided that a local dinner theater called Medieval Times was just the place for them to spend his birthday. She called ahead and verified valet parking and handicapped seating. He used his wheelchair instead of the walker on that night, and off they went to enjoy a hands-on feast and thrilling swordplay!
On behalf of Home Care Assistance, we want to thank Q for her passion in delivering the best experience and care for her clients!
October’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Karen Pappageorge of Greater Chicago
Karen is a caregiver who takes the Balanced Care Method, our company’s holistic approach to care, to heart even in the most difficult situations. After joining Home Care Assistance, Karen was introduced to her client Jackie who had aphasia. Speaking was such a challenge for Jackie that she would sometimes bang her fists in frustration at trying to form any words. Her frustration, glares and folded arms did not faze Karen — she knew she could make a difference. Jackie and her family soon came to trust and rely upon her new friend, caregiver and advocate, Karen— and Karen was able to establish a close bond with Jackie that enabled her to communicate.
Over time, Jackie had isolated herself in her home, and Karen encouraged her to visit friends again. She also learned that Jackie loved to needlepoint and had owned and operated a needlepoint business. Often Karen joined Jackie in needlepointing and had their joint artwork framed. Karen supported Jackie for many years and also was a comfort to her grieving family following her death.
Karen utilizes that same spirit and creativity now with her client, Anne. For the past three years, Karen has worked full time with Anne, who values her as a member of the family. When Anne received news of the death of a close family member in a different state, Karen put her own life on hold to travel with her so she could attend the funeral.
This year Anne sold her home and is moving to to an apartment. In addition to performing regular caregiving duties with dedication, Karen has also been helping Anne with every task that is associated with downsizing; from cleaning up water damage and renovating the kitchen to sorting, staging and selling the home, Karen has been by Anne’s side every step of the way.
"Karen goes above and beyond what I would expect from a caregiver,” Anne says. “She makes an impact on everyone she meets and is an asset to Home Care Assistance. She is more than a caregiver. She is a good friend to me."
Karen attributes her success in the field to this motto: helping her clients feel as relaxed and carefree as possible, however they may define it. She uses humor and calmness to diffuse the usual and unusual stresses of life.
Thank you, Karen, you are a true gem! No job is too big or too small when it comes to the clients you serve. We are so privileged to have you as part of our Chicago team since we opened doors in 2009!
August’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Tina Bailey of Dayton, OH
Tina joined the Home Care Assistance team in January. Her journey as a caregiver began years ago at a nursing home, as well as when she cared for her grandparents who had cancer. In addition to her passion for the elderly, Tina works as an early childhood educator and immediately fell in love with the company‘s Cognitive Therapeutics Method™. Over the past few months, Tina has delivered exceptional care for her clients and continues to do so today. She provides a fun and engaging environment for her clients and helps keep their minds sharp and active through the activities and interventions found in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method.
Tina‘s energetic and compassionate approach to care makes her unique, which is something we look for when building our team of Professional Caregivers. It is no surprise that Tina has already received our coveted Caregiver of the Month honor earlier this year. We truly appreciate her devotion to providing the highest caliber care to our clients and commitment to changing the way the world ages!
July’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Monique Williams of Ft. Lauderdale, FL
The Ft. Lauderdale Home Care Team is excited to spotlight Monique Williams. Monique is a compassionate and trustworthy caregiver who is concerned with the quality of her work and the complete well-being of her clients. She has excelled with every client she has cared for and she carries out her responsibilities without hesitation; Monique is one of the most reliable caregivers – and is always willing to help. The Team can honestly say that they would hire Monique to take care of their personal families without hesitation. Monique was also recently awarded Caregiver of the Month in office.
Home Care Assistance of Ft. Lauderdale is lucky to have such a star on their team!
June’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Adeluisa Cruz of San Francisco, CA
Adeluisa is our unsung hero this month. Since 2013, Adeluisa has worked with Home Care Assistance in caring for a client progressing through the advanced stages of Alzheimer‘s disease.
The client‘s family wanted to keep mom at home and with Adeluisa‘s help, they were able to do just that. While her client is no longer communicative, Adeluisa still treats her with the respect she deserves and sees her for the person she is.
Even when the client‘s husband began to need care himself, Adeluisa never once hesitated to assist other caregivers in caring for him. She is a calm, professional and steady presence in the life of this family and we thank her greatly for all that she does.
The San Francisco Care Team said, "Adeluisa has been a major part of our team. She is caring, reliable and trustworthy. Very energetic and always willing to help, including her coworkers. Having a caregiver like Adeluisa has made our lives much easier and we are so appreciative. Thank you Adeluisa."
May’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Vickie Dunlap of Placer County, CA
Vickie was one of Home Care Assistance‘s first hires and has been in the caregiving profession for 14 years. "I remember being so excited as I knew we had the best of the best and knew we could take on any client because we had Vickie with us now," said Debbie Waddell, owner.
Vickie always go the extra mile for her clients. One example of this is that she often will bring her keyboard with her to her client‘s house and play music or have a sing-along with him or her. One of her client‘s daughter said, "Vickie has worked hard to establish a positive relationship with my mom and clearly understands the needs and concerns of the elderly. She definitely enhances my mom‘s life, and for that, I am very grateful!"
Vickie‘s passion and commitment to the seniors she serves has made her a champion of our mission to change the way the world ages. She is a great asset to our team and we are so appreciative of all that she does for each of her clients, which helps make our office the best of the best when it comes to home care!
April’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Katherine Smith of Fairfield, CT
Katherine joined Home Care Assistance this past year and has consistently received high marks from clients; she is dependable and always on time, qualities that her clients truly appreciate. Kathy brings a creative energy to work, engaging her clients with a variety of games, crafts and a positive attitude. She recently helped her dementia client make a string bead bracelet for his wife who commented: "I was so surprised with his gift for me. I love it! It has been quite some time since he has given me a gift."
Kathy also loves to cook, delighting her clients with scrumptious, healthy foods. Last week she shared, "I just made lunch and dinner for a client today using five different Super Foods!" A client recently commented on Kathy‘s performance as a caregiver, stating: "In a nut shell, the entire family feels very lucky to have her caring for my mother. Jokingly, I think of Kathy as a hybrid between a Martha Stewart and Mary Poppins!"
We agree. Kathy sets the bar high for caregiving and allows us to carry out our mission to change the way the world ages here in Fairfield, Connecticut!
March’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Erica Hines of Cleveland, Ohio
Erica became a State Tested Nursing Aide (STNA) in the year 2000 and worked for many years in nursing homes before joining Home Care Assistance in June 2014. Since she started, she has been working full-time with Mr. C, a World War II Veteran, who will celebrate his 97th birthday in April. The two enjoy spending afternoons sitting on the front porch talking about Mr. C‘s youth and wartime experiences. Though he doesn‘t see or hear very well, Mr. C. enjoys a high quality of life largely due to Erica‘s companionship. To watch them together is truly heartwarming. Erica shared, "When you are around a man of that age, you learn so much about life."
Erica is very patient and enthusiastically helps Mr. C with his personal care every morning saying, "One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and up you go." Employing the tenets of our Balanced Care Method™, she prepares his favorite nutritious foods and ensures his safety as he exercises by walking around the table eight times per day with his walker. She also acts as his advocate at doctors‘ appointments. Mr. C.‘s two daughters trust Erica completely and speak very highly of her, which is a true testament to her character.
Not only is Erica a wonderful and compassionate caregiver, but she is also a great trainer and mentor. She has shared her routine with Mr. C. with many caregivers so that they can provide the same high caliber of care. Her dedication and professionalism are evident in her frequent communications with the Cleveland office, as she provides regular updates on Mr. C‘s daily activities and abilities to ensure he receives the most comprehensive care.
Erica is blessed with three sons, a daughter and five grandchildren. Between working 40 hours per week with Mr. C. and spending time with her family, Erica has a very busy schedule but she wouldn‘t have it any other way.
Erica is the model caregiver and someone who is compassionate, trustworthy, reliable and diligent. She is a valuable member of the Home Care Assistance team in Cleveland and she goes the extra mile in everything that she does. Erica puts the "care" in caregiver.
Thank you, Erica, for all of your hard work; you are a shining example of the high standard of care that Home Care Assistance strives to provide to every client, every day!
February’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Karina Leonard of Palm Beach, Florida
Karina has worked as a caregiver for over five years. Ever since Karina joined Home Care Assistance, she has been an exemplary employee, offering her time in any way needed. Karina‘s caregiving style is marked by grace, kindness and consistency – traits that foster genuine, long-term relationships with the clients she serves; it‘s not uncommon for clients to say that they think of her as a daughter.
In addition to her compassionate spirit and charisma, Karina‘s attention to detail has earned her accolades. Not only does she initiate fun and engaging activities with her clients, but she also heavily promotes positive lifestyle habits such as healthy diet and exercise in line with the Balanced Care Method™. Karina‘s dedication, leadership, kindness and commitment to changing the way the world ages make her a great asset to the Home Care Assistance team. We truly appreciate her devotion to providing the highest caliber care to our clients!
January’s Caregiver of the Month Spotlight
Heather Theisen of Douglas County, Colorado
Heather has been with Home Care Assistance since March 2015 and she is a fantastic caregiver. Heather is passionate about helping others and it warms her heart to see her client‘s smiling faces when she arrives at their home.
Heather has been working in the healthcare industry for several years and she couldn‘t imagine being anywhere else. She loves working for Home Care Assistance and shared that she truly looks forward to going to work every day because of the strong support system that Home Care Assistance offers.
As Hope Freeman, Home Care Assistance‘s Care Coordinator put it, "Heather has a smile that reaches her eyes. I know that our clients are in the best of hands with her; I can always count on Heather to cover emergency shifts. I would love to be able to clone her. It‘s caregivers like Heather that help us accomplish our mission to change the way the world ages!
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